I can’t really complain about winters in southern Arizona, because we’ve had the best warm and sunny weather lately. But mornings are still a little chilly–there’s a frosty look in the air since night time temperatures fall close to freezing. In the mornings, we’re cranking up the heat, sipping steamy mugs of tea, and enjoying warm breakfast porridge.
We are big oatmeal fans in our home, but polenta porridge is a lovely treat some days, stirred up with almond or coconut milk and topped with fruit and maple syrup. Polenta is fabulous because while it’s usually used in savory dishes, it has very little flavor on its own besides a nutty sweetness. It takes on other flavors really well, and cooked with plenty of liquid, it has a creamy and velvety texture.
And polenta loves berries.
We eat a lot of berries: frozen, fresh, cooked, it doesn’t matter. The high antioxidant content and low sugar (compared to other fruits like banana, though we also love banana) makes berries a really healthy choice for breakfast. And I always feel like I’m more likely to eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day if I start with the really healthy breakfast. The coconut milk adds a rich creaminess while keeping this breakfast dairy free, vegan, and gluten free.
You can whip up this polenta porridge in just a few minutes, and while I suggest making it my way at least the first time around, it’s a flexible enough recipe that you can mess with it if you want to. Use citrus, bananas, apples, or some other kind of fruit. Try honey instead of maple syrup. Cook the polenta in coconut milk instead of almond milk and top with pineapple (actually, that sounds amazing). You get the point: make it how you like it.
This is a really kid-friendly recipe, too, because the flavors are mild and you can make it sweet, and the texture is nice and smooth. It can be a nice alternative to oatmeal for anyone who finds oats too gooey, and it’s kind of like a sweet, fancied-up version of grits. Of course, if you’re eating my chocolate steel cut oats, you definitely won’t find them gooey. 😉
Let me know if you give my porridge a try! What kind of toppings do you like on your hot cereal?
A warming hot cereal made with polenta, berries, and coconut milk. Vegan and gluten free!
- 1/2 cup polenta
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- for topping: coconut milk, maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
Combine polenta, almond milk, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer.
If your berries were frozen, you may want to thaw them over the stove while your polenta cooks. When I use fresh berries I don't bother, I just throw them on top.
After about 5 minutes when the polenta has absorbed the almond milk and water and it's nice and creamy, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add additional salt if needed.
Top with berries, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Enjoy!